The promise of video delivery via IP-based networks by a host
of new service providers to compete with cable and fulfill
the promise of triple and quadruple play services remains
just that, a promise.
Keeping the promise is the tricky part.
Can it compete technologically in a burgeoning triple play market?
Is it price competitive? How about the reliability and quality?
What’s the best medium to deliver IPTV?
Those questions are being answered in some select markets,
and a recent report from the New Millennium Research Council
(NMRC) suggests IPTV will be a viable programming platform
in the future.
Here’s why, according to Milton Ellis, vice president and
senior consultant for the Technology Research Practice at
Harris Interactive, who commented on the report. “When you
consider that IPTV is a new technology offering, the future
of IPTV does look promising,” he explained.
Forecasts for IPTV are enthusiastic, with $55 billion in
revenue expected for the digital convergence of services and
products in the IPTV space through 2010, according to a Deloitte
Meanwhile, Multimedia Research Group predicts there will
be nearly 37 million IPTV subscribers by 2009.
Other key findings of the NMRC report include: Online video
interest is growing and the strongest market potential for
IPTV is among younger consumers.
Yet hurdles remain for IPTV, for both PC and traditional
TV delivery, the report acknowledges. Regulatory issues, including
local franchising rules; lack of IPTV technical standards;
and content protection issues still must be addressed.
Complicating the promise is actually defining IPTV, since
it covers many different forms of video programming and services.
However, once IPTV is clearly defined, and the regulatory,
technical, content and marketing issues are resolved, IPTV
just may keep its promise after all.
Kuhl, IP Capsule Editor, and CED Magazine
Juniper adds firewall to Microsoft’s
Networks and Microsoft
Corp. have signed a global agreement to enhance the
protection for IP networks, services and applications, the
Juniper will provide its NetScreen-5200 and NetScreen-5400
Integrated Firewall and Integrated Security Gateway 1000 and
2000 for access control, secure communications and network
and application-level security.
Why the agreement? As IPTV gets traction, particularly in
Europe, the need for a more secure and reliable delivery system
of IPTV services is becoming top of mind for service providers.
HD on-demand for IPTV coming
OnDemand TV, a telecommunications provider in Japan, will
launch what is says is the world’s first IPTV on-demand service
to offer HD programming encoded in the H.264 video compression
standard, or MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), the company
International will provide the MPEG-4 platform, which
will allow OnDemand to deliver HD video streams in less than
half the bandwidth required by MPEG-2, the companies added.
“Higher compression ratios are allowing network operators
to efficiently push multiple services through a single home
connection, and our use of H.264 now makes long anticipated
high-definition content a leading feature of our competitive
offering,” said Yasuyuki Taniguchi, an executive at OnDemand
And why the launch? OnDemand FTTH (Fiber To The Home) subscribers
in Tokyo and Osaka will have access to on-demand libraries
of HD movies, sports and other programming, the company said.
Cisco takes upgrade route to
is enhancing its 7600 Series Router portfolio to increase
network intelligence and flexibility for service providers
and their IP NGNs (Internet Protocol Next-Generation Networks).
The enhancements include multicast connection control, which
provides more efficient delivery of video services, and an
integrated video/IPTV quality-monitoring module.
Why the upgrade? Better efficiency, greater variety of services,
Kasenna goes to the Heartland
Heartland Communications and Kentucky Telephone, two independent
telephone companies, said they will support their respective
IPTV services with Kasenna
Inc.‘s PortalTV suite.
Kasenna will provide its LivingRoom 2.0 IPTV middleware as
the cornerstone of the platform, which includes software for
the consumer set-top box and for the backend service creation,
management and delivery, the company noted.
McLeod’s new strategy? The business
USA Inc. has announced a new strategy that will focus
more on its IP-based integrated voice and data broadband solutions
for single and multi-location small and medium-sized businesses.
The services will include multiple voice channels and high-speed
Internet with or without IP VPNs, along with managed security
and firewall protection, McLeod noted.
Why the changing strategy? “Our focus is not just doing what
everyone else does, but offering businesses a unique suite
of products and services. That’s what we’re doing with our
new and enhanced IP-based products,” said Royce Holland, CEO
Nuera, which in the process of being acquired by AudioCodes,
said the integration with MetaSwitch will allow the two companies
to build on open IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) standards and
is target the combined offering to competitive service providers,
cable operators and incumbent local exchange carriers.
What’s the deal here? Another prime example of vendor companies
understanding the need to add partners to service the expanding
IP-based service market.
Agilent’s N2X passes test
Technologies Inc. announced that its N2X multiservices
test solution will validate IPTV service quality for thousands
of subscribers under real world video, VoIP and data-traffic
Agilent says that network manufacturers and service providers
can now use the N2X solution to characterize the ability of
individual network elements or entire networks to meet IPTV
Quality of Experience (QoE) expectations prior to deployment.
The N2X, Agilent notes, is the only triple-play test solution
that simultaneously combines channel changing, hundreds of
IPTV channels and hundreds of thousands of VoIP and data-traffic
streams to identify the true service quality experienced by
every IPTV subscriber.
Why the test? Ensuring VoIP, IPTV and data quality from the
get-go is paramount to service providers.
And the research says….
Voice and the bundle; two of a kind
a global market intelligence firm, is predicting the demise
of standalone communications services. It predicts that by
2010 the US market for bundled services will grow from fewer
than 45 million today to more than 84 million.
And what’s driving the bundled market? VoIP, IPTV, satellite
and mobile strategic partnerships, IDC says.
Under the five-year wholesale distribution deal announced
Friday, DirecTV and EchoStar have agreed to offer WildBlue’s
satellite-fed Internet service exclusively over the next five
years. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The deal is a major one for WildBlue, which will now be able
to tap into a combined DBS subscriber base of more than 27
A WildBlue spokeswoman said DirecTV and EchoStar customers
will need to use a separate dish to receive the high-speed
data service, but that the companies are still considering
the development of a dual-mode dish that’s capable of providing
digital video and data services simultaneously.
EchoStar and DirecTV expect to begin marketing WildBlue services
under their own respective brands in the “coming months.”
They said pricing information will be forthcoming.
Earlier this year, WildBlue secured a similar deal with AT&T
Inc., which will market satellite broadband services
in rural areas underserved by DSL and high-speed cable lines.
Under that deal, AT&T will market WildBlue’s highest speed
tier, 1.5 Mbps downstream/256 kbps upstream, for $79.95 per
The deals with DirecTV and EchoStar “are a turning point
for WildBlue,” said WildBlue CEO David Leonard.
They are also a long time in coming. EchoStar, despite earlier
high hopes, had already written off its $50 million investment
in the Ka-band, Colorado-based satellite data service provider.
It also wrote off a previous investment in Starband
Communications, another provider of broadband-based
DirecTV, meanwhile, used to be linked to the Ku-band-based
service Direcway, which is now part of Hughes Network Systems
LLC and has recently been rechristened “HughesNet.” DirecTV
also had plans in place in the late 1990s to offer high-speed
services via three satellites attached to the Spaceway project,
but has since decided to use two Spaceway birds to expand
its high-definition television capabilities.
The WildBlue connection also calls into question past speculation
that DirecTV would use WiMAX technology to fuel a high-speed
And now, WildBlue U
WildBlue and several rural utilities across America are launching
WildBlue U, a program sponsored by the National Rural Telecommunications
Cooperative (NRTC) to advance the training, sales and marketing
experiences of high-speed Internet services in rural areas.
The program will also provide paid internships to college
students in rural America. Twenty-eight electric and telecommunications
utilities in 17 states are participating.
The new services on the new Windows Live services platform
will include benefits such as: Safety with Windows Live OneCare;
Flexibility with the personalization of Qwest customer home
pages; and Connectivity, with co-branded Windows Live Messenger
and Live Mail services.
Why the deepened alliance? Qwest is feverishly competing
in a crowded triple play market and Microsoft’s brand recognition
is no small upgrade.
CableLabs and EuroCableLabs
have signed an agreement to further align the development
of cable technology in the US and Europe.
The agreement provides EuroCableLabs access to CableLabs’
DOCSIS and PacketCable specifications and test plans.
Why the agreement? Better access to engineering changes to
specifications and greater consistency across cable technologies
developed in Europe and North American markets.
And the research says…
European Broadband prices falling
Subscription rates for download speeds of up to 4 Mbps are
trending downward for residential and business segments, dropping
as much as 32 percent for 1.5 Mbps in the consumer market,
says research firm Research and Markets.
Why the drop? Increased competition from cable operators
and tariff cuts in Eastern Europe.
The bundle remains en fuego
Of more than 3,000 U.S. Internet households surveyed, 35 percent
are highly unlikely to switch from their bundled services,
which increases customer retention by 20 percent, says a recent
report by Parks Associates.
And, they’re willing to pay 11 percent more for their dual-play
services than the overall average, Parks adds.
Claim to Fame: Designs, manufacturers, markets and
supports a full line of airborne telecommunications systems
for the business aviation, general aviation, government and
air transport markets. Its latest generation of products provides
voice and data services for passengers and flightcrews using
the global Iridium Satellite System.
Recent news of note: Aircell and JetBlue won bids
via an FCC-run auction for spectrum for air-to-ground broadband
frequencies, which, in turn, will allow the companies to provide
wireless broadband services to airlines and business aircraft
in the U.S.